It’s the final week of most conference’s regular seasons and it’s all about the West Coast tonight.
No. 7 Cal Baptist and No. 9 Stanford highlights tonight’s matches as the Lancers continue to play the role of postseason spoiler. In addition, Hawai’i will try to stay alive for its first postseason bid since 2011 as it travels to UC San Diego.
Check out the top-five men’s volleyball matches from around the nation to follow tonight.
1. No. 7 Cal Baptist (16-12, 12-10 MPSF) vs. No. 9 Stanford (14-11, 11-11 MPSF)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Palo Alto, Calif.
Follow live: Gametracker, Online video
What to know: Cal Baptist will try to add to its resume for the greatest NAIA to NCAA transitional season in college volleyball history and get another win against a top-10 ranked team as it plays Stanford. The Lancers in its inaugural MPSF season and final year of its NAIA to NCAA Division II transition is fifth place in the conference. In addition, the team has won eight of its last nine matches, including three consecutive wins against top-10 ranked teams. However, Cal Baptist as part of that transition process is ineligible for the upcoming eight-team MPSF Tournament. Stanford entering the final weekend of the regular season is currently the No. 6 seed but could get the No. 5 seed if it wins its two remaining matches. This match will also feature two of the top outside attackers in the nation. Cal Baptist outside attacker Levi Cabral is third in the nation averaging 4.13 kills per game, while Stanford outside attacker Brian Cook is fourth in the nation with a 4.11 kills per game.
2. Hawai’i (9-16, 8-14 MPSF) vs. UC San Diego (7-20, 4-18 MPSF)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in San Diego
Follow live: Live stats, Online video, In-match Tweets
What to know: Hawai’i’s postseason hopes will either be finished or extended for another day by the end of tonight. Hawai’i opens a two-match road series against UC San Diego needing to win both matches to have a chance to clinch the final spot in the eight-team MPSF Tournament. The team enters the final weekend of the regular season trailing Cal State Northridge by a half-match for eighth place. Due to the head-to-head breakers, the Warriors need to win and also have the Matadors lose their season finale to have a chance to make the postseason. Hawai’i leads the all-time series against UC San Diego 43-4. However, the two teams have split their annual two-match series the last two seasons.
3. No. 5 Pepperdine (13-11, 12-11 MPSF) vs. No. 8 UC Santa Barbara (15-14, 11-12 MPSF)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Follow live: Live stats, Radio feed, In-match Tweets
What to know: Two of the top defensive teams in the nation will face each other as UC Santa Barbara plays host to Pepperdine. The Guachos are second in the conference holding opponents to a .243 attack percentage. In addition, middle attacker Dylan Davis is among the national leaders averaging 1.40 blocks per game. Davis was also among the current college players who new U.S. National Men’s Team coach John Speraw said could have a chance to make the team for the 2016 Olympic roster. Pepperdine enters its regular season finale third in the MPSF averaing 2.70 blocks per game. The Waves also have two players in the nation’s top 25 for blocks per game average — including middle attacker Parker Kalmbach who is 10th in the nation averaging 1.22 blocks per game. This match will also have postseason implications. Pepperdine with a win can the No. 5 seed for the upcoming conference tournament, while a UC Santa Barbara win gives the Gauchos a chance at the No. 5 seed.
4. No. 3 UCLA (19-10, 15-8 MPSF) vs. USC (6-17, 6-17 MPSF)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Los Angeles
Follow live: Gametracker, Radio feed, In-match Tweets
What to know: Both UCLA and USC have nothing to play for in this regular season finale — besides beating its cross-town rival on national television. That should be enough for both teams in this West Coast rivalry. UCLA swept Pepperdine on Wednesday to clinch a first-round home match and the No. 4 seed for the upcoming MPSF Tournament. USC has lost nine of its last 11 matches and did not qualify for the eight-team conference tournament — the first time since 2006 that the Trojans did not make the postseason. In its earlier meeting this season, UCLA had seven aces in a sweep against its cross-town rival. In addition, Bruins outside attacker Gonzalo Quiroga is third in the nation with 47 aces. USC All-American setter Micah Christenson has 40 aces and is tied with Quiroga for third in the nation with a 0.47 aces per game average.
5. No. 1 BYU (20-4, 19-3 MPSF) vs. Pacific (8-18, 5-17 MPSF)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Stockton, Calif.
Follow live: Live stats, Online video, Radio feed, In-match Tweets
What to know: The last time Pacific beat BYU people were beginning to buy their movie tickets for the opening of “Stars Wars: Revenge of the Sith.” The Tigers are on a 16-match losing streak against the Cougars with their last win coming in March 2005. In addition, BYU swept Pacific in their first meeting this season. Pacific, though, has already snapped one historic losing streak this season. The team defeated USC earlier this year for their first win against the Trojans in almost five years. BYU enters this match having already clinched the No. 1 seed for the upcoming MPSF Tournament. A BYU win tonight would also set the school record for most conference victories in a single season.